Preparing for a short break, holiday or business trip can be stressful – and as a contact lens wearer, it's even more important to plan ahead, to ensure you have everything you need to care for your eyes correctly.
It's easy to travel with contact lenses, as long as you remember to carry all the accessories you need in order to care for them properly. If you're taking a long journey, it's crucial that you stick to the wearing pattern advised by your optician. For example, if you're flying overnight, and don't usually sleep in your contact lenses, you must remove them and store them safely, as normal.
Travel Pack Solutions
Wearers of reusable lenses, such as monthlies or two weeklies, must remember to pack the necessary storage and cleaning solutions required to keep your lenses safe and eyes healthy.
Large bottles of liquid cannot be carried in hand luggage, so remember to pack them in your main suitcase. Travel size lens solutions make a great alternative to bulky full-sized bottles, and they're designed to comply with airport regulations, so you can keep them in your hand luggage.
You may find the pressurised air in plane cabins makes your eyes dry out, particularly on long haul flights. You can solve this problem by carrying a small bottle of eye drops, or by re-wetting your lenses with solution. Alternatively, consider wearing glasses on board the plane, and store your lenses safely, for use when you land.
Remember to pack a spare pair of contact lenses or glasses, in case you break or tear your lenses on holiday.
Consider daily contact lenses
Daily disposable contact lenses are ideal if you're travelling for a long time. They can offer you more freedom, as they don't require the care that monthly and two weekly lenses do. Simply dispose of them at the end of each day – perfect for a carefree holiday!
If you plan on driving for a long period of time, remember to bring a bottle of solution and to take regular breaks to refresh your eyes.
If you're going somewhere sunny, remember to pack a pair of UV-absorbing sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV-A and UV-B rays. If you want to give your eyes a break from contact lenses, then prescription sunglasses are the perfect alternative, as they allow you to see correctly whilst still sheltering your eyes.
Contact Lenses and UV Protection
Some brands of contact lenses include UV-blocking technology to protect your eyes – but they're not a substitute for a good pair of sunglasses. Acuvue contact lenses and some Biomedic lenses offer sun protection, to differing degrees.
Acuvue Oasys and Acuvue True Eye contain some of the highest levels of UV-blocking technology available on the market today. True Eye contact lenses can block 96% of UV-A and 100% of UV-B rays, whilst Acuvue Oasys shields your eyes from 95% of UV-A and 99% of UV-B rays.
Speak to your optician if you're unsure as to whether or not your contact lenses offer UV protection.
You should always protect your eyes from the sun. Over-exposure to UV rays can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts, Pterygium and corneal sunburn. It's an added bonus if your contact lenses offer UV protection, but it's not recommended that you use them as your sole protection against the sun's harmful rays – it's always best to wear sunglasses. Studies have demonstrated that contact lenses can block areas of your eye from the sun that your sunglasses can't, and vice versa, so the best protection actually comes from the combination of UV lenses and sunglasses.
If you're going to be swimming or participating in water sports, it's very important to protect your eyes properly, to safeguard against the water-borne bacteria, which can cause viruses and infections.
If you're planning to swim frequently, we'd advise that you don't wear contact lenses and instead invest in a pair of prescription goggles to protect your eyes. This is because nasty bugs such as Acanthamoeba can attach themselves to your contact lenses and can cause inflammation and infection.
Water can also disrupt the fit of your lenses, dislodging them or causing them to feel too tight.
If you're unable to obtain a pair of prescription swimming goggles, the next best thing is a pair of well-fitting goggles that protect your lenses. If you must wear contact lenses, the safest option is to swim with daily disposables as there is less time for bacteria to build up on these. We recommend that you dispose of your contact lenses as soon as you leave the swimming pool or sea, and replace them with a fresh pair.